ELK GARDEN, WEST VIRGINIA
village and post office in Elk District, Mineral County WV. The name
was originally Elk Pond.
Senator Davis named it Elk Garden because of the former abundance of elk, and the traditional location of an elk lick, or "Garden". for the Elk."
Elk Garden is located atop the Allegany Mts, 2 1/2 miles from Sulphur City and Approx. 2 miles from Blaine by Route 42.
At one time a big pond of water was located on what is now the site of Norman's store. elk would come to this pond and lick the salt in the ground and then feed and drink there, hence the name of the town.
Elk Garden was built in this area because of the coal which was located under the town. Coal supplied employment to early settlers. The first coal was shipped out of here as early as 1888. It went by dinky to the plane and down over the plane to the railroad which was laid below in Nethken (which had changed its name from Atlantic). This was before the train had come into the town and Elk Garden was incorporated in 1890.
The Davis Coal and Coke Co, which owned the coal under the town, built six foot wide board walks on Main Street. The town was lighted with kerosene lights and erected on posts along the board walks. The lamp lighter was Jackie Parker. Later gas lights replaced the kerosene lamps.
Big Vein coal kept the town alive.
On 24 April 1924, in Mine #20 at Elk Garden, the fan located in the fan house was not turned on and the mine blew up, killing the following: Leo Dempsey, Joseph Dempsey, William Hetzel, Edward Harshbarger, William Buski, Thomas Yost, William Shears, Thomas Yost, Charles Wilson, John Wilson, Roy Wilson, Lester Wilson, Thomas Wilson, Harry Trenum, John White, William Pearson, George White, Hawthorne Patton, Frank Pugh, William Pugh, James Brown, Walter Semour Runion, Oscar Pritchard and John Pritchard.
The Western MD built a switch back at Nethken and the rails were built up the hill to Elk Garden. They backed the train up the hill into EG. Four Passenger trains ran into Elk Garden each day. The train ran each day but Sunday. The first depot agent was a man named Moyer in 1888. Following him was Hansel and the last agent for many years was J B Faller. The depot closed in 1925.
Large circuses came to Elk Garden. The Ringling Brothers Circus came with 35 car loads of circus.
There was a dance platform located in the Oak Grove in a large field just as you entered the Town limits. This is where the circus and all the functions took place. There were weekly dances.
There were 6 hitching posts in Elk Garden along the board walks. There was a livery stable in town too.
There was a Cider Dive in Shady Side where you could get cider, soft or hard. It was owned by Moran, Malloy, Finch, Bill Nethken, Felix Cannas, G. Nethkin and 4 others.
There have been three bands in Elk Garden. A Scotch band, a Black band and a band instructed by C L Wiseman.
The Municipal Building had a bell which was rung by anyone seeing a fire. When the townspeople heard the bell ringing, they would fill their water buckets and a bucket brigade would begin.
Over time there have been 4 hotels, the W G Kight Hotel, J F Bane Hotel, Barnhouse Hotel and Commercial Hotel. The stores have been: The Buxton and Landstreet, Company Store, Oats Stern Feed Mill (Boyd Oats Owner), Mormon's Store, Tice Store (George Burdock worked here in 1928), Bane's Store, Simpson's Store, Planning Mill near Nethken, Green's General Store, Burke's Millinery Shop, Hansucker Tin Shop, Lucian Wiseman Newspapaer and Bicycle Shop, Kate Wilson's Restaurant, Kight and Rollman Undertakers, Felix Cannas, Ice Cream Parlor, Jewlry and Cigars, Dude Lyons and Estel Kenny, Butcher Shop, Bakery, Jim Donnally, he was blind, Pat McNally Store, J A Frunk Restaurant, Parnish Cigar Store, J C Moran, W Simpson, Mrs. Willis, K & W Tea Store, May Wilson Needlework Store, J V Clark Restaurant, Spencer Corset Shop, O D Harris Restaurant and Billiar Parlor (Mrs. Harris owned the Corset Shop), Robert McIntyre, made men's clothing, Mr. Brant and Tommy Junkins made guns and was a gunsmith, Steidings had a millinery shop, Jacob Puggenbarger operated the shoe repair shop, C L Wiseman Newspaper and Photographer, John Gordon operated a livery stable. If you had to go somewhere Satchel Roberts or Edward Atichon would see you got there. There were three bake shops.
The Odd Fellows Hall held dances and later movies, The blacksmith's names were Pierce, Green, William Whetzle and Meshack Warnick. There were two butcher shops, Thomas Ashby and Dumit. Dentists were Emerson, Floyd Edgel and Porter. Doctors have been Dr. Gerstell and Son, Dr. Kern and Cowherd, Dr. Henry, Dr. Van Schultz, Dr. Pierce, Dr. J B Johnson and the last one Dr. Peter D. Crynork in 1936.
The Elk Garden ball team was very active.
Gwynn Kight and Billy were Chiefs of Police, and Brant Nethkin and J B King were constables.
Natural gas was put in the town in 1915 and later electricity.
Telephones in the area were on four trunk lines with as many as 25 phones on each line. The switchboard was located in the John Mackey home in Sulphur and his daughters operated them. In 1949, the C & P Telephone company put in new phone and equipment.
Margaret L Crites. Permission to use this on the Mineral County site
by Mr.Robert Rummer, editor Mineral County Traits Tracks and Trails.